EasyGroup misses the mark

EasyGroup (established in 1995) uses a wide range of Easy names, such as EasyJet, EasyHotel and EasyCar. EASYJET was registered as a European trademark in 2015. When other companies try to register any names containing EASY, the company almost always takes immediate action.Since 2007 Easy Fly Express (from Bangladesh) has been offering air cargo services in Asia. The internet domain <easyfly-express.com> was registered in January 2014. The logo of the freight company is suspiciously similar to that of EasyJet (matching color, layout and font). Reason for EasyGroup to start an URDP procedure and demand transfer of the domain name.

The arbitrator rejects the claim. EasyGroup fails to convince that the domain name has been registered and is used in bad faith. EasyJet is not really known in Asia. The air-cargo company has been operating under the name Easy Fly Express since 2007. EasyJet’s trademark is of a later date. The company is active in other parts of the world and consumers are not being misled. The conflict is more of a trademark issue. It seems EasyGroup is barking up the wrong tree.

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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?